It’s rare for a man to have an impact in as many fields as H. Wayne Huizenga did.
Huizenga died at age 80, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. His death was confirmed to the paper by his daughter Pamela Huizenga Alexander. Huizenga at one point owned the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, MLB’s Florida Marlins and NHL’s Florida Panthers and was the driving force behind Blockbuster Video, Waste Management and AutoNation. Huizenga is the only U.S. businessman to found three Fortune 500 companies, the Sun-Sentinel said. The cause of his death was unknown.
Huizenga built a fortune and then became a key player in the sports world. He started with the Dolphins, buying 15 percent of the team in 1990 after Joe Robbie died, then became the majority owner in 1994. He was the team’s primary owner until early 2009 when the sale to Stephen Ross became official. His time as owner of the Dolphins was filled with frustration over not getting the franchise back to the Super Bowl success it had in the 1970s.
Huizenga had a shorter and more chaotic run as Marlins owner. He bought the team in 1993, built a team that won the 1997 World Series, then memorably held a fire sale after that championship claiming a major financial loss. He sold the team in 1998.
Huizenga was also the original owner of the Panthers, bringing the expansion team to South Florida in 1993. Earlier this year the team retired No. 37 in his honor.
Huizenga was a highly successful businessman, which allowed him to collect all those pro franchises in South Florida. Forbes said last year Huizenga’s net worth was $2.8 billion, tied for the 288th wealthiest person in America in 2017, according to the Forbes 400.
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson released a statement, via WSVN: “Today the over 26,000 AutoNation Associates are saddened by the news that our founder, H. Wayne Huizenga, has passed away. Wayne was our Founder, and we would not be the company we are today without the spirit, drive, energy, and vision he gave us. Wayne is at the very core of our culture. To me personally, today, I lost both my mentor and my best friend, H. Wayne Huizenga. Alice and I will miss the sparkle in his eye we came to love. Wayne was one-of-a-kind whose business success is unmatched and might never be repeated. Wayne was one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the history of business, leaving a lasting mark in sports, community and business. His Legacy burns brighter than anyone. That’s Wayne Huizenga, our Founder.”
Saddened to hear about the passing of my long-time friend Wayne Huizenga. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Huizenga family! #RIP
— Dan Marino (@DanMarino) March 23, 2018
We mourn the loss of a beloved member of the Dolphins family.
Your kindness and generosity can be felt throughout South Florida.
We will miss you Mr. H. pic.twitter.com/bWrNjbU17q
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) March 23, 2018
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 23, 2018
Today, we mourn the passing of the original Florida Marlin, Mr. H. Wayne Huizenga, who will be remembered as much for his contributions to South Florida professional sports as he was for his many charitable endeavors in the surrounding community. pic.twitter.com/HOVxXEAU5Q
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) March 23, 2018
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